Labour MP Joan Ryan was in Washington, D.C. this week arguing for American money towards peace-building initiatives in Israel and the Palestinian territories, which aims to spend £160 million ($200 million) per year.
Ryan, chair of Labour Friends of Israel, met U.S. politicians and advisers to press the case for the International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, which is modelled on the fund created in Northern Ireland to help the transition into power-sharing.
The British delegation met Republican Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, who is co-sponsoring a bill to authorise U.S. cash for the fund, which would support “joint economic and civil society projects” and “promote coexistence”.
Ryan said the fund was “an idea whose time has come,” adding that the International Fund for Ireland “did so much to underpin the Good Friday Agreement by building strong popular constituencies for peace”.f
She added: “U.S/ leadership plays an essential role, and I was delighted that, at the outset of our campaign, I was able to visit Washington to help drive home this message.”
LFI said Britain’s international development spending on coexistence was “pitiful,” so the parliamentary lobby group is campaigning to increase it to £1.35m. This would be part of a wider £40m ($50m) contribution from Europe, with the rest coming from the U.S, the rest of the international community – including the Arab world – and private foundations and individuals.